Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Justin Bateman produces, directs and stars in an adult comedy about a 40-year-old man who finds a loophole in a children's spelling bee contest rules. In the spirit of "Bad Santa", "Bad Teacher", and "Bad Grandpa", see how can someone behaving so wrong can be so funny. Bateman's a--hole character is perfectly paired against a delightful 10-year-old rival contestant (Rohan Chand). Kathryn Hahn & Allison Janney only have minor roles. This film is rated "R" for language (of course), sexual content, and nudity.
Alien gives it 3 "Golden Quill" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
DreamWorks Animations expands a Rocky & Bullwinkle Show filler,"Peabody's Improbable History", for big screen in 3D giving it more depth with a back story and more personality to it's characters. Originally, a talking dog historian/time traveler, Mr. Peabody, his pet boy, Sherman, & the WABAC Machine showed how they meddled to change history to how we know it today. This modern update establishes a father/son relationship addressing adoption and bullying issues under a space/time continuum adventure filled with doggie jokes and the traditional bad puns. It's 3D animated family fun for all ages. At the end, look for the janitorial sweeper who used to close every episode.
Alien gives it 3 "Set the WABAC Machine for..." stars out of 4.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
This one sounds like "Passenger 57" meets "Red Eye" meets "Taken", but Alien was busy watching a miracle maker to catch that flight. However, my junior critics-in-training on board reported the following:
Comment #1 - Non Stop was good. Exciting and intense action thriller with some good twists.
Comment #2 - Great movie. Loved it. Kept me guessing who the killer was until the very end.
It's the life and times of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection in Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's condensation of their 10-hour Bible mini series.This action epic is both powerful and inspirational as it effectively uses exotic locales, strong performances, costumes, and special effects to portray the biblical tales of faith and miracles. It's a marvelous visualization of the story most of us have heard before.
Alien gives it 3 ½ "believe in the light" stars out of 4.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Night run to the airport kept Alien from reviewing this film but I manage to obtain some comments from some junior critics-in-training.
Comment #1: Pretty good. Once is enough for me. Good family film - no swearing or nudity. The story line wasn't very believable for me. The producer/actor was there for Q & A.
Comment #2: It was good, laugh a lot!!! Enjoyed it.
Comment #3: Yeah it was fun . Very funny at times.. other times just so-so. But good for one viewing. Christian theme and message. Give it a 2 out of 4 stars
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
It's "Jack Ryan" meets "The Transporter" meets "Parenthood" when a terminally ill CIA agent (Kevin Costner) with an ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) & an estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) accepts one last mission for a possible experimental cure. The premise already sounds far fetched without mentioning the squatters, the albino, the purple bicycle, drug side effects, or the mystery man only known as "The Wolf". You'll see Paris as you never have seen it before and the many faces of Amber Heard in a weird Jekyll/Hyde routine. Only Costner's charm could make his cold-blooded killer character likable in this action film with an odd sense of humor to defuse the gratuitous violence. This is pure escapism entertainment but what else would you expect from writer Luc Besson.
Alien gives it 3 "Kill or Die" stars out of 4.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
It's "Gladiator" meets "The Horse Whisperer" meets "The Impossible" as a love story unfolds under the shadows of the arena and a cloud of ash. Roman arrogance & politics interrupt this contrived romantic tale full of cliché movie theatrics underlining the tragic historical event. The classic plot lines, the stereotypical character types, the costumes, the 3D imagery, the special effects, and the action sequences all come together making it an entertaining movie, regardless of the overly enhanced eruption scenes. Keifer Sutherland and Carrie Ann Moss are the two well known named actors.
Alien gives it 3 "Titanic Event" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Advertised as not a true story, but a love story, it is more of a fairy tale. A thief (Colin Farrell) on the run from his mentor (Russell Crowe) & his henchmen has his heart stolen by a lady (Jessica Brown Findlay) stricken with consumption. Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt have supporting roles. If you believe in miracles, dream of star-crossed destinies, and enjoy the battle between good and evil, you may like this fantasy tale. Alas, Alien is too logical to buy into this premise that spans a century and involves a magical white horse. Look for a surprise cameo in this weird movie.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "Holy Moses" stars out of 4.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Your favorite Sci-Fi man-machine lawman is back in a reboot featuring more back-story, more politics, and more CGI special effects. Alien liked this more humanized RoboCop version which debates the issue of employing lethal drones for public protection. Swedish unknown, Joel Kinnaman, stars as Alex Murphy/RoboCop with Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Samuel L. Jackson in supporting roles. Fans of the original should be entertained by the differences, but may be a bit disappointed at the non-tagline climax.
Alien gives it 3 ½ "Tin Man" stars out of 4.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Alien had airport duty and sacrificed my seat to a reluctant reviewer.
L said: "...not worth paying. A rental at best. Some action scenes. A little drama. There r different groups of vampires (the good & the bad)..."
A said: "Not worth paying full price for, unless you're a fan of the book series. I rate it about maybe 2.5 (out of 4). Yeah it is smart and sexy and does have some of the Mean Girls spirit and humor with a lot of action and fangs. Decent performances. But it never seemed to fully engage you with characters and the story. Decent..."